How well do you personally know your customers? If you're like most business owners, it is probably not as well as you'd like to think. For hundreds of years, many proud business owners have built lasting companies on what is referred to as “word-of-mouth” marketing. Your reputation in your community was what mattered most toward the success or failure of your business. Until recently, that reputation was almost always built on the personal relationships you developed within your community.
So long as you worked hard, did your best, and provided outstanding service, your company was built to last -- and everyone in town knew it, too. These days, most business owners don't know many of their customers on a personal level. Businesses are closing up shop by the dozens, and the majority of new start-up companies have decided that bigger cities offer better chances. To be successful today, you are not only required to have an amazing reputation, but you must work even harder to get new customers to even notice you. If you aren't selling online, that's an even bigger problem. Check out Google Inc.'s short video below for an amazing illustrative perspective on digital marketing.
Most traditional forms of marketing like radio, billboards, TV commercials, flyers, and newspaper ads are now ineffective at reaching new buyers as apps, cell phones, and social media demand more and more of their attention. People are still looking for what you do today, but they aren't looking in the same places they used to. Are you showing up?
And by the way… What do they see when they find you?
Like it or not, today’s market is dominated by the notorious “Millennial Generation.” These buyers are looking for you online, even if you don't think you run an "online business." Having a solid strategy for how you will bring in new business is the single most important investment you will ever make for your company. Businesses who aren't making an effort to show up when people are looking for them are failing to bring in the new business required to keep their doors open. In short, if you aren't marketing, you are the walking dead.